Welcome to Lantern Review issue 7.1. For this, our first issue in over five years, we’ve launched an entirely new form of the magazine: shorter, with a thematic focus, and designed in a way that better accounts for the possibilities offered by digital space. We’re proud of this fresh iteration and are inspired by the creative work that we’re privileged to highlight in the pages that follow.
In Preeti Kaur Rajpaul's poem “speak sinking liver,” the shades of the speaker's grandmothers remark that, even after trauma, “thrashed parts grow back / striking.” Indeed, the writing in this issue resonates with resilience and resistance, striking hard in places we least expect. “It is hard to write so / punctuated by nights,” writes Shamala Gallagher in “Untitled [New Year’s Eve & a Death Tucked Inside]” —yet the six poets featured in this issue, accompanied by the haunting images of photographers Leah Oates and Sudarsana Mohanty, have done just that.
In curating this issue, we found ourselves circling back to the theme of “transmission,” and not just because this recalls the title of Jason Bayani’s “Transmissions,” a poignant meditation on the task of reaching into the unknown strata above for words and meaning. As the poems in this issue reveal, transmission is a process that is blood- and water-bound; it evokes generational motifs and, in many places, is intimately tied to trauma, both of the body and of memory. “If God forgets us, you have to swim, for your life and also mine,” urges the voice of the mother in Annabelle Y. Tseng’s “Deep End,” reminding us of how every poet, every generation is tasked with transmitting the memory of the forebears whom they have left behind.
Transmission gestures toward both prayer and scientific process, to oral history, and to the written word. Like the pork in Allison Albino’s “My Parent’s Prologue,” it evinces the way that certain realities are recursive, echoing across continents, languages, and even prior selves. “It’s the year 2220 and I’m still a child / in a forest—all the trees slender italics,” writes Dujie Tahat in “when i say wolf,” drawing us through the wilds of memory to return to the same, intimate scene. Indeed, as Bayani reminds us, the work of the artist is a constant, recombinant process of transmission: “We are always calling, / in some way, to someone / who will listen.”
We hope you enjoy issue 7.1 as well as Lantern Review’s new look. We’re confident that these poems' profound articulations will strike you as hard as they have struck us—insisting at every turn (to borrow Bayani’s words), “Are you listening? / Are you listening?”
Peace and Light,
Mia Ayumi Malhotra and Iris A. Law
Lantern Review Editors